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April Yanko: President & Founder of the Feminist Collective

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Point Park chapter.

April Yanko is the founder and president of The Feminist Collective, a new organization on campus this semester. Not only is she balancing school work, two majors, and a radio show, she’s also trying to get the Point Park community involved in feminism. In honor of our feminism week, April Yanko is our Campus Celeb.

HC: Why did you choose Point Park?

“I actually transferred to Point Park. I used to go to a school called Seton Hill, where I studied acting and communications. I didn’t feel challenged by the acting program and sought out something different. Which turned out to be here!”

HC: What made you want to start the Feminist Collective?

“One thing that I really enjoyed at Seton Hill, however, was their feminist collective. I felt like I learned a lot from my short time being there and that the campus as a whole learned a lot, too. It really brought the community together in a way that I had never seen before, and I really loved feeling like I was a part of something that made a lot of sense and a difference in the community.”

HC: When did you realize you were a feminist?

“I realized that I was a feminist when the collective at Seton Hill started becoming more popular. I started reading what people were sharing, talking with people who were in the club, and realized that we all had similar views. I suppose it was like, I always had these views but didn’t really know that there was a group that they fit into, and once I did, it became a cathartic sort of experience. Almost like I had lost time, in a sense, and wanted to make up for it by doing as much as I could to make change.”

What do you hope to bring to Point Park with the Feminist Collective?

“I suppose you could say changes are what I wanted to bring when I started it at Point Park. I had hoped that while I was here, I was able to create that community that I saw created at Seton Hill when their collective started thriving. It’s really quite empowering to see a group of likeminded people working together to make their community a better place.”

HC: What do you plan to do after graduation?

“The after graduation question is always so loaded! I suppose that I really want to focus on my acting major, and I would really love to get involved in film and voice acting. Right now I do a radio show on WPPJ about animation, and I would like to still keep that up in podcast form. I am looking for smaller programs that have equity capabilities to get that experience before moving to a big market, like L.A. I’ve always loved animation and film and feel truly at home in those mediums.”

HC: What misconceptions do people have about feminists?

“People often look at feminists as angry women who hate men. ‘Feminazi’ is what a lot of people call it, which when you think about it is a total oxymoron. We aren’t driven by hate for other people. We are driven by what we see is unfair; there are many injustices in the world against both women and men alike, and we are a group of people who recognize them and want to change that. We aren’t mean! We aren’t hateful. We are passionate. And it’s something a lot of us can relate.”

HC: Do you have any Feminist Collective projects you want to share with the rest of Point Park?

“This Monday we are having a Legally Blonde movie night. We are also going to have a game show style night where the winners get a pizza party with us! Next semester we will be taking advantage of volunteer opportunities more within our community. We also are hosting panels, both with local women and also trying to broaden our reach, specifically with panels focusing on women in film. We may even have a surprise guest coming, we’ll see!”

HC: How can other students join? When are your meetings?

“Now our meetings are Monday’s at 9:15 pm in the JVH. They’re not too long! No worries about that, and they don’t have to be a consecutive thing; just come when you feel like having discussion or if you want to see if it’s for you. It’s a very safe environment. We hope that whoever comes will leave feeling like they experienced something enlightening but also in a safe space. I think the community’s comfort is one of the most important aspects, so feeling like you can share what could be private is always welcomed. There is always room for new faces.”